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THE   MAHRATTAS,                                                     41
alchemist from Brinda-ban had obtained large sums of money from the
credulous prince to prepare a process for the transmutation' of the meaner
metals into gold. When the day for the crucial experiment arrived and detec-
tion had become inevitable, he assassinated his victim and fled.*
His brother, Naval Sinh, succeeded, nominally as guardian for his infant
nephewj Kesari, but virtually as Raja. The Mahrattas had now (1768) reco-
vered from the disastrous battle of Panipat5 and, re-asserting their old claim
to tribute, Invaded first Jaypur and then Bharat-pur, and mulcted both territo-
ries in a very considerable sum. They then entered into an understanding
with the Delhi Government which resulted in the restoration of SMh Alam to
his ancestral capital. But as the only line of policy which they consistently
maintained was the fomentation of perpetual quarrels, by which the strength
of all parties in the State might be exhausted, they never remained long faith-
ful to one side ; and, in the year 1772, we find them fighting with the Jats
against the Imperialists. Naval Sinh, or, according to some accounts, his
brother and successor, Ranjit Sinh, laid claim to the fort of Ballahbgarh held by
another Jat chieftain. The latter applied to Delhi for help and a force was
despatched for his relief; but it was too weak to resist the combined armies of
Sindhia and Bharat-pur, and was driven back in disorder. The Mahrattas
then pushed on to Delhi; but finding the Commander-in-Chief, Niyaz Khan,
ready to receive them, they, with incomparable versatility, at once made terms
with him and even, joined him in an expedition to Bohilkhand.
Meanwhile, the Jats, thus lightly deserted, espoused the cause of Najaf s
unsuccessful rival, Zabita Khan, But this was a most ill-judged move on their
part: their troops were not only repulsed before Delhi, but their garrison, was
also ejected from Agra,t which they had held for the last 13 years since its
occupation by Suraj Mall after the battle of Panipat in 1761. From Agra the
Vafcir Najaf Khan hastily returned in the direction of the capital, and found
Banjit Sinh and the Jats encamped near HodaL Dislodged from this position,
they fell back upon Kot-ban and Kosi, which they occupied for nearly a fort-
* It was $rofcai>!y this Batn Sinh, for whom was commemced the large chhattrC toear the
Madaa Mohan temple at Brindi-ban, where it is still to be sees in its unfinished state, as left at
$h time of his sodden death.
f Theeommandaofthe J* gtmaonija Agra was Bin Sahay, brother-in-law (sala)of
Itaral Ssnh.